Young peasant women actively participating in taking care of their territory

Young peasant women actively participating in taking care of their territory

Colombia - 08 March, 2022

In 2021, our organization decided to focus in strengthening the capacities of women and youth to participate in discussions and decisions related to their territories, as we had found that women were not actively involved, especially young women. This was part of a strategy directed to prioritize gender and youth issues in Tropenbos Colombia.

According to our characterization, the Solano landscape is an intercultural landscape were indigenous communities have recognized land rights through collective property as Resguardos. Nevertheless, peasant communities also occupy part of the territory, most of them without property titles. The area has been for a long time governed by guerrilla groups and only after the peace agreement; communities have more active participation at the municipal level. Still today, the area is very isolated, only a few of these communities have access to electricity and none of them to internet.

Because of pandemic, we had serious restrictions to go into the field, so we developed a strategy to continue promoting change in our landscape by training a group of twenty young people, mostly women, to promote discussions in their communities by visiting all their neighbours and collecting data on food production, perception of water quality and on climate change. They received a cell phone to take pictures and to record interviews and meetings with their neighbours, notebooks and interview formats as well as booklets with information on food security, the importance of water and climate change.

For most of them, and especially women, it was the first time they went to visit all the houses in their communities, led conversations, and even some of them organized workshops to discuss these issues. All of them expressed that they feel a big change in the way they are now engaged with their community and territory and full of ideas of what needs to be done. It would be very nice if the vereda had its own communitarian vegetable plot.

That is what we explained in the interviews: we need to reforest the spring area and we need to create a vegetable plot for the children so they have fresh vegetables. That would be very nice. (Cristina López Rodríguez, peasant woman in the Solano landscape)

This empowerment is not only made of words, we can see them acting in meetings and all of them are leading proposals of their families and communities related to productive restoration. Moreover, they all want to continue working for their territory, some of them want to monitor restoration initiatives, others want to promote monitoring of water quality and others want to continue promoting food security by rescuing seeds that survive extreme dry periods and seeds that can survive particular wet periods. We feel this is a real transformation in our landscape.